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Had a great day in the woods hunting my father in laws farm after spending the last three weekends roaming the big woods of northcentral PA seeing little to no game. What a welcome it was to watch deer and turkey all day from two different stands. To preface the story I started archery hunting when I was around 14. I started with a recurve, then a compound and now a crossbow @ 40. As a youngster I chased deer with vigor but never succeded in bagging one with a bow. I chased and shot at alot of deer but never scored and thank the Lord never wounded one as I used to get some major buck fever at that age. I had to give up bowhunting in my twenties and thirties due to two major wrist reconstruction surgeries. This year marked my return to the archery woods and I had forgotten how great it is to be in the woods hunting deer at this time of year. (Just a note here; I'm not trying to justify why I got the crossbow with the surgeries, its just a fact of why I got out of bowhunting. I probably would have ended up buying a crossbow regardless)

After watching a few doe from my morning stand, I stopped for lunch and hunted the evening from a different stand along the edge of a food plot we put in a few years back. I watched a few more doe and some turkeys feeding about and decided to do a little grunt sequence about a half hour before sunset. I hadn't stopped grunting for 15 seconds and I noticed movement coming down a thick draw towards the corner of the food plot I was sitting over. As it got closer I could tell it was a legal buck and he was heading right for me on a rope. As he closed to 40 yards I could tell he was somewhere between an eight and five point through the binocs but some of his points kind of had that worn down look to them. His right side could have literally been either 1 or 4 points and his left side had three legit points. As he crossed me broadside at 20 yards I never even considered raising the crossbow to shoot. As he walked under me he stopped at 7 yards and looked right up at me, and continued on his way looking for the buck that was grunting. Whats weird is my heart never really got to thumping which sort of said to me don't shoot this one. I can't fully explain why I didn't shoot. Obviously this was a golden opportunity to get that archery monkey off my back and take my first buck and I'm sure nobody would have faulted me as he wasn't exactly the smallest legal buck. It could have been that there is much bigger one roaming the farm, or the fact that I was enjoying myself so much, that I wasn't quite ready to end it yet with five more archery days coming my way. I plan on hitting the game lands in the morning with my springer for pheasant and jumping back in the stand for the evening.
 

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What you don't realize, is that you didn't have to let him walk, but you did anyway!
Pretty cool feeling when you let one walk, waiting for a bigger one.
Congrats to you!
 

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When it feels right, you know it. When it doesn't feel right, you know that as well.

Great experience anyway and can be just as rewarding when you let them walk.
 
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